Press

L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Respond to Proposed Anti-Gay Constitutional Amendment

Date: 
December 07, 2004

MEDIA CONTACT:
Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications
media@theTaskForce.org
646.358.1465

Media Contacts: Jim Key, L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center Chief Public Affairs Officer 323.993.7623 or Sheri A. Lunn, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Director of Communications 323.857.8751

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 7, 2004 — The Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force condemned yesterday's announcement by the Anaheim-based Traditional Values Coalition (TVC) that it would push bills to amend the California state constitution to specify that "the rights, responsibilities, benefits and obligations of a marriage shall only be granted, bestowed, and conferred upon a man and a women joined in a valid marriage and may not be conferred upon any other union or partnership." The bills were introduced in the assembly by Republican Ray Haynes of Riverside and in the Senate by Bill Morrow of Oceanside.

"Such an amendment would strip gay and lesbian couples and their families of the limited protections they currently have as domestic partners and prevent them from ever having the basic responsibilities and rights afforded to non-gay married couples and their families," said Darrel Cummings, Chief of Staff of the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center. "Gay and lesbian couples would lose hospital visitation rights, the ability to authorize medical care for each other's children, the right to take unpaid medical leave to care for their partner, and hundreds of other rights and responsibilities intended to protect families. This is simple bigotry cloaked as 'traditional values' that the majority of fair-minded Californians will reject."

"The Traditional Values Coalition has a history of trying to hurt hard working, tax paying families simply because they don't fit their narrow definition of 'family.' Fortunately, the TVC is way out-of-touch with the values of Californians and most Americans," added Thalia Zepatos, the Task Force's Deputy Director of Organizing and Training, based in the organization's California office. "In the last election, national exit polls showed that more than 60% of voters support legal recognition of gay and lesbian relationships, through marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships."

"The TVC's news conference to introduce the proposed amendment was nothing more than a publicity stunt to detract from the introduction of Assemblymember Mark Leno's 'religious freedom and civil marriage protection act,'" Cummings said. "The media-hungry TVC knows that their proposed bills have no chance of being approved by the fair-minded California legislature."

Leno's religious freedom and civil marriage protection act would amend a section of California's family code that defines marriage as a "personal relationship arising out of a civil contract between a man and woman" to read "between two persons" and afford gay and lesbian couples the same marriage rights and responsibilities that protect and support non-gay couples.

"When TVC's proposed bills fail in the legislature, we fully expect them and other anti-gay organizations to launch a very well funded campaign to amend the constitution through a ballot initiative," said Zepatos. "Through the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's 'Vote for Equality Project,' we have been identifying voters who oppose marriage discrimination for nearly 18 months and we have faith that fair-minded Californians will defeat this blatant attempt to make gay and lesbian families second class citizens."

To find out how you can support marriage equality, visit the Vote for Equality Web site at http://www.voteforequality.org.

More information about the proposed legislation can be found on the Equality California Web site at: http://www.eqca.org

About the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center

The L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center provides a broad array of services for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, welcoming nearly a quarter-million client visits from ethnically diverse youth and adults each year. Through its Jeffrey Goodman Special Care Clinic and on-site pharmacy, the Center offers free and low-cost health, mental health, HIV/AIDS medical care and HIV/STD testing and prevention. The Center also offers legal, social, cultural, and educational services, with unique programs for seniors, families and youth, including a 24-bed transitional living program for homeless youth. Information about the Gay & Lesbian Center is available on the Web at www.laglc.org.

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.